Heather Cereste joined the military after 9/11 while working in Manhattan as a physician. She served in Iraq during the 2007 surge with the U.S. Air Force as a trauma intensive care physician at Camp Anaconda. Her job was to put people back together again, save lives, or, for far too many, guide them through death.
It was not until she returned from war that she developed severe complex Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome. Her symptoms appeared almost immediately upon return to the states, but she hid/managed them and continued working as a physician until 2012. By 2014, her health deteriorated to the point that she made the difficult decision to leave medicine. Since then, it has been a difficult struggle sometimes to simply get out of bed.
Today, she is a single mother of an amazing 7-year-old girl, Mary, and simply enjoys being her mom. She volunteers at her school as often as she can and tries to lead by example every day. In her free time, she enjoys being in the outdoors, walking, hiking, biking and going to the beach.
Through the WarriorStrong experience, Heather hopes to regain her self confidence and a sense of belonging with other veterans; to really feel alive again, to have fun and feel like she is truly a positive part of this world while challenging herself in nature. Ultimately, she believes the Expedition, by design and because of the mountain itself, can help her regain a sense of purpose while also helping her feel not so alone with her symptoms and as a civilian.